Architecture Schools in Los Angeles, CA with Degree Overviews

The Los Angeles area has several schools that offer architecture programs. Learn about the degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three of these schools within 15 miles of downtown in order to make an informed education decision.

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Los Angeles Architecture School Options

A variety of options are available for individuals looking for architecture schools in Los Angeles. This article examines three schools that are no more than 25 minutes from the heart of the city. It also includes a table that offers prospective students a quick look at how the schools compare in various aspects such as enrollment, costs and acceptance rates. At the end of the article is some information on a few more area schools with architecture programs.

  • The Southern California Institute of Architecture is a small, 4-year private school that focuses exclusively on architecture. It is just a mile from downtown and offers a bachelor's and master's degree.
  • A 4-year public school, the University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in architecture. UCLA is about 15 miles from the city center.
  • Approximately 14 miles from downtown, Woodbury University is a 4-year private school and has the smallest student-to-faculty ratio of the three schools. It offers bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture.

Comparison of Schools

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a school. The following table offers a quick way to compare these three institutions.

Southern California Institute of Architecture University of California at Los Angeles Woodbury University
School Type* 4-year, private not-for-private 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017)* 514 44,027 1,160
Campus Setting* Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)* $43,800 $13,261 in-state
$41,275 out-of-state
$38,460
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)* 43% 65% 82%
Acceptance Rate (2017)* N/A 16% 62%
Retention Rate (2016-2017)* 86% 97% for full-time students,
80% for part-time students
73% for full-time students
Graduation Rate (2011 start date)* 100% 91% 52%

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Southern California Institute of Architecture

While attending Southern California Institute of Architecture, students learn through seminars, design studios and workshops, some of which are led by visiting faculty members. Students present their thesis projects to internationally renowned architecture critics at two public events.

Bachelor of Architecture

The bachelor's degree program lasts five years and features such courses as static architectural systems, environment systems and technologies of description. Seminars in the sciences, arts and humanities are blended throughout the design studio curriculum. Students also learn about theoretical constructs, building technology advancements and architectural design issues.

Master of Architecture

Graduate degree programs are led by both practitioners and scholars. While earning a degree, students gain knowledge from other fields of study as well. Students can choose to earn their master's degree in either two or three years; the 2-year program is open only to applicants with a bachelor's degree in architecture. All students are required to complete a thesis before graduating.

University of California at Los Angeles

Students can earn both professional and academic graduate degrees at UCLA through the Architecture and Urban Design (AUD) department. Professional degrees are suited for those who want to become practicing architects, while an academic emphasis leads toward research or teaching.

Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies

This program comprises the final two years of a 4-year bachelor's degree program. Emphasis is on studio work, where students learn how to think critically and explore the creative process. During the junior year, students learn about architecture, urban design and digital technology. Senior year focuses on contemporary and modernist themes in architecture in preparation for a graduate architecture program.

Master of Architecture I

Students can complete this professional degree program in three years and are allowed to earn their urban planning degree at the same time. The program has been accredited by the NAAB and includes such courses as introduction to design studios, structures, comprehensive studio and professional practice. Students are required to complete a research studio and a research studio seminar. Currently, the program is only offered to full-time students.

Master of Architecture II - SUPRASTUDIO

Students can complete UCLA's second professional degree program in architecture in one year. The program is for individuals with advanced backgrounds in architectural studies. The university has recently started utilizing a new research platform in which students will work with collaborators outside of architecture and local industry leaders in entertainment, technology, development and transportation. Students have access to the Advanced Technologies Lab as well.

Master of Arts in Architecture

This academic degree program takes two years to complete and prepares students for architectural consulting, research or teaching, as well as providing a pathway to the PhD architecture program. Students must select a concentration in technology, design or architectural culture; a research project based on the concentration and culminating in a thesis is required. Participants also learn about geography, art history, cultural studies and archaeology. The program provides opportunities for student involvement in exhibitions, publications and symposia.

PhD in Architecture

To earn a PhD, students must complete a dissertation. The Critical Studies program readies students for critical and scholarly research. The program also features a number of specialized faculty-led projects, such as think tanks, collaborative groups and interdisciplinary research.

Woodbury University

Woodbury University has several facilities throughout Southern California, with the main campus in Los Angeles-Burbank. Woodbury also features the Rome Center for Architecture and Culture in Italy. The Center offers seminars and studios and serves as a research, educational and outreach center.

Bachelor of Architecture

Courses in the Bachelor of Architecture program include design communication, world architecture, professional practice, environmental systems, architecture theories, methods and materials. Design studios on topics such as housing, space and form, site orders and urban design play a major role in the program; an independent design project is required. The program also teaches students about building, drawing and writing.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture

Students explore both physical and social influences to learn how each connects to interior space. While earning the bachelor's degree, learners use computer rendering, drawing and 3-dimensional models. Studies include drawing, design and color, composition, furnishings, lighting, materials, building systems, building codes and construction documents. A senior project is included in this program.

Master of Architecture/Master of Science in Architecture

The Master of Architecture program takes two to three years to complete and is intended for students with or without an architecture degree. The Master of Science in Architecture is a post-professional degree that can be earned in one year. Students in both programs are engaged through fieldwork and study away/abroad programs, and explore building, visualization, studio work and criticism.

Other School Options

Architecture schools in Los Angeles are also available at Fullerton College, which is located 27 miles from Los Angeles, California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, found 28 miles east of downtown LA, and at Otis College of Art and Design, located about 21 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

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